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  • Someday Overload

    My someday/maybe list has started becoming a real hindrance to me.On my last weekly review I purged my someday lists of things I was not longer interested in doing, and the two lists, my personal and professional somedays, still totaled close to 300 items! I resist doing my weekly reviews because I know I'll have to look at those lists, which do nothing so much as remind me of what I _haven't_ done.

    Has anyone else experienced someday list overload? Any suggestions for coping? TIA!

    Ken

  • #2
    If I don't move on something in three months, it's gone. The fact is that if I haven't done something about it in that period of time then I'm just not that interested and it's not a project I HAVE to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      I believe that David specifically mentioned things e.g. learn to play the piano that we clearly never HAVE to do, but might want to do SOMEDAY--MAYBE. So is your problem with the list relating to things that you have to do, but that you have placed on the list because you cannot or chose not to do them right now?

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the Someday/Maybe list is a picture of the life we would like to be living if we did not have to work. Some writers encourage us to write down the things we would commit ourselves to if we knew we could not fail. But I think the Someday/Maybe list captures all those things we would do if we had all the time in the world.

        Compromise between work and personal goals is a fact of life, but we would like to keep the flame that is our real selves burning to the greatest extent possible in the time available.

        The “Motivation 123” website had an article recently which included the sentence “In the end, you will not reflect warmly on the times you let go of your dreams”. The first step in fighting back is to capture them on your Someday/Maybe list.

        The Someday/Maybe list is also an EVOLVING model of how we would like our lives to be. The three month rule as descried by AMS above is a good check – if the item is totally unappealing in three months time, it proves that it was never really a refection of your true self; more likely it was something derived from the enthusiasm of another.

        My attitude to my own Someday/Maybe list is that it contains the things that I will be glad to know I had at least tried before I reached old age.

        Ken, I think if you look at your own Someday/Maybe list in this light, you will find enough strength to fight back against your time constraints and try to put even one item into action this week.


        You could try deleting a chunk of items from your list, but if they are genuine and have real meaning for you, then you will find that they will float back to the surface of your mind again over the next few months and reappear on your lists. They are the open loops created by your nature and character.

        The size of your lists might reflect a continual search for the things that will really make you life feel real and worthwhile. But if you get even a few of the Someday/Maybe items activated, you might find a new sense of satisfaction and reward emerging in your life. The quality of the sense of reward from a few goals achieved could easily supersede the huge (and exhausting!) sense of endless possibility that you current lists give you.

        Busydave

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi,
          Obviously I can't read your mind, or your lists for that matter. But maybe you're being alittle too quick in relegating something to "Someday/Maybe". Is your Someday/Maybe list becoming one of those "huh stacks" that DA speaks of?
          When confronted with a new idea, I ask myself whether I'm ready, willing AND able to move on it right now. If I am, then it's a project. If any one of those elements (ready, willing or able) is missing, then it's a someday/maybe.
          Maybe you still have some processing to do about the things that are on your lists.

          Comment


          • #6
            Two someday folders

            Hi everyone,

            I'm brand new to GTD (read the book last week and just received the CDs today). I have read many of the posts on this forum...

            I've maintained a someday folder for years. Actually, I have two of them. One is for things I'd like to do/might want to do in the next few months. The other one is for things I might want to do in my lifetime, I keep my 'things to do before I die' list in the second one.

            As I implement GTD I plan to create two someday/maybe lists (not just toss stuff in the folders) - I'll review the short-term list weekly, and the long-term list monthly.

            Hope this helps someone...

            Kim

            P.S. This is one of the very few GTD things that I've figured out so far! I've done a few brain dumps, putting every item/idea on index cards that I now have stashed in every room. I love using the index cards, and it feels so good to get some of stuff in my brain in writing so I don't have to keep thinking about it!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Someday Overload

              My craft project list has over 100 items on it, most representing unfinished quilts. I have a separate set of lists for these projects though I keep them together with my general lists. I divide the next actions according to stages of completion. It was a tremendous relief to do this because now it's all explicit. I haven't started a new project in weeks, and I don't want to. Several projects have been moved along. However the nature of these projects is that completion is very slow, so I am frustrated. An entire afternoon of work might only result in one action step completed and no project finished. However my approach has been to try to get used to this feeling of slowness so that the frustration will diminish. I also try to focus on progress, and I have definitely made progress even though it didn't result in completion. In the first few weeks of implementing the system for my hobbies, I completed a few projects that were easy or already near completion, but at the same time I found a few more projects that had escaped my initial sweep. So the total number has not changed substantially. At least now I can put half-finished things away rather than leave them out to remind me to work on them. But I digress.

              Regarding someday/maybe, the point of these is that they may never get done. I want to learn to speak or improve my speaking of seven languages. Will I ever? Probably not. But on the list they go. At the very least, the idea is down on paper and not in my head where it would nag me now and then. It doesn't bother me to look at these ideas weekly. I want to go to three different countries, so those ideas are on the someday/maybe list. A trip to Italy, for example, may be two years down the road. But it is a possibility so it goes on the list. There are a couple of interesting museum trips on the list. These will expire if I don't do them, or I may move them to the project list. Those have to be reviewed weekly if I don't want to miss something.

              I have 90 projects at home, 50 someday/maybe ideas, 110 craft projects, and 200 bugs to fix at work (though many are to be fixed someday/maybe). In addition I have about 40 recurring housekeeping tasks that I manage in a tickler file.

              I just started doing this in April, so I have a huge backlog of things that weren't getting done. On the other hand, many things are finished, I just have to remind myself of them. The deck is fixed. The house will be painted in spring (the contract is signed). I will pick up the new glasses next week. The boss thanked me for answering his e-mail right away. Too bad this behavior is unusual where I work!

              David Allen uses a martial arts analogy. I am lucky to have once practiced a martial art, which taught me patience like nothing else I ever did. For a year and a half, I was terrible. I have no idea why I kept dragging myself to those classes three times a week (perhaps it was because my future husband was teaching the class). I actually really disliked it. Then something changed and I was able to kick things really hard and fast. It's not something that happened overnight, and neither is this. One has to practice. In fact if the system were easy to pick up it may be just as easy to let it go. Something hard that you work on for a long time will become more ingrained, at least that has been my experience.

              Cris

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Someday Overload

                Originally posted by cris
                David Allen uses a martial arts analogy. I am lucky to have once practiced a martial art, which taught me patience like nothing else I ever did. For a year and a half, I was terrible. I have no idea why I kept dragging myself to those classes three times a week (perhaps it was because my future husband was teaching the class). I actually really disliked it. Then something changed and I was able to kick things really hard and fast. It's not something that happened overnight, and neither is this. One has to practice. In fact if the system were easy to pick up it may be just as easy to let it go. Something hard that you work on for a long time will become more ingrained, at least that has been my experience.
                While I'm not exactly sure how this paragraph relates to this particular thread , I'm awfully glad I read it. I someday want to look back and say about the things on my lists that I could kick them hard and fast... Nicely put. Thanks, Cris.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AMS View Post
                  If I don't move on something in three months, it's gone. The fact is that if I haven't done something about it in that period of time then I'm just not that interested and it's not a project I HAVE to do.
                  I know this is a very old thread but I'm reading lots of old stuff today.

                  I find that hard to understand. I spent 6 years finishing one single project and in some cases nothing happened on it for 7 or 8 months at a time but I'd never consider trashing it. Lots of my projects can only be worked on at certain times of the year or need certain weather conditions. Doesn't mean they aren't active projects though. Items on my someday maybe lists may only be applicable at certain times of the year that are seasonal based and 3 months may not be enough time to get back to the season when I can consider moving forward on something.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cris View Post
                    My craft project list has over 100 items on it, most representing unfinished quilts. I have a separate set of lists for these projects though I keep them together with my general lists. I divide the next actions according to stages of completion. It was a tremendous relief to do this because now it's all explicit. I haven't started a new project in weeks, and I don't want to. Several projects have been moved along. However the nature of these projects is that completion is very slow, so I am frustrated. An entire afternoon of work might only result in one action step completed and no project finished. However my approach has been to try to get used to this feeling of slowness so that the frustration will diminish. I also try to focus on progress, and I have definitely made progress even though it didn't result in completion. In the first few weeks of implementing the system for my hobbies, I completed a few projects that were easy or already near completion, but at the same time I found a few more projects that had escaped my initial sweep. So the total number has not changed substantially. At least now I can put half-finished things away rather than leave them out to remind me to work on them. But I digress.
                    Another old thread that I suddenly found really helpful.

                    THANKS!

                    I have several hundred craft type projects on my Someday/Maybe lists. I just finished sorting them by type. So all the sewing things are in one place, all the quilting, knitting, spinning, weaving, scrapbook, naalbinding, crochet, genealogy etc. are sorted by craft. I moved out to my project list only the current active project in each category. Now I don't have to leave the partially done or designed ones out. And in my case I discovered that when I'm done weaving the current project, I can warp up the loom with a consistent warp and weave off several projects without re-warping. Until I put them all in one place and reviewed them together it wasn't obvious I could design a single warp to do all those projects.

                    As to slowness, hang in there, one of my weaving projects took 6 years on the loom to get done That was after several years spinning the yarn for it. And I haven't finished the real top level project, it's cloth for a piece of clothing but I haven't managed to get the courage to cut my fabric yet. Maybe in another year or 2 after I've admired the yardage long enough.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just wanted to thank you, Oogiem, for sharing your perspective with us. A person who thinks in terms of seasons and years has a very different outlook than someone who thinks in hours and days. I'm pretty good at the short term perspective, but projects with longer timelines tend to drift. (Or else I get impatient and rush things.) I'm finding your way of thinking about things very helpful.

                      Katherine

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kewms View Post
                        A person who thinks in terms of seasons and years has a very different outlook than someone who thinks in hours and days. I'm pretty good at the short term perspective, but projects with longer timelines tend to drift.
                        What I constantly struggle with while trying to learn and adapt GTD for my needs is the slowness of my projects.

                        The weaving was a good example, I worked on that cloth nearly every week for 6 years before I finished that one next action of "weave the fabric". Cutting off the loom, tying the ends and fixing broken warps (the next 3 next actions) took several hours and got done at one sitting but now I'm stuck at the cut the fabric because I know how much work it took to make it and I'm a novice sewer and afraid I'll make an irrecoverable mistake. Right now my next action is to cut my fabric. So far I have yet to feel like I can even do it. I've been stuck there for a while because I just couldn't force myself to take the next action. At my last weekly review I finally managed to figure out that the fear of making a mistake is why I can't cut the fabric and I decided I needed to make a mock up of the entire item, first in cheap 99 cent muslin and then again in some purchased wool fabric. So I think I'm finally unstuck on it but it took 6 months to figure out why I couldn't move forward with the next logical action.

                        The project is current and active and yet actions can take months to do. So does it sit in my someday maybe file or my projects file?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                          The project is current and active and yet actions can take months to do. So does it sit in my someday maybe file or my projects file?
                          In that case, I say it's active and belongs in your Projects list.

                          The point of the Projects list is to say, "Here is what I've committed to and really am working on right now." The distinction is that it's not for things that you've committed to and really aren't working on right now. We've all launched into something with high hopes, then kept it on our primary to-do list even after six months of no further progress. That should be avoided.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Black belt attempts with someday/maybes

                            Somewhere I came across a description by David on what GTD black belt could be like. There are two levels, first and second degree black belt, and the second degree is short and sweet and reads:

                            Time has disappeared, most of the time. You often move fast, but you're seldom busy. When you're playing with the dog, you're not thinking about any of the big stuff -- you've already thought about it. You know what every key in your desk drawer is for.
                            I think "someday/maybes" are a big key to getting there, because they allow you to distinguish the things that would "blow up" if you missed them, from the rest. When I make something a someday/maybe I will make clear to myself that if I never do anything on this, it's fine. If I don't look at that list ever again, nothing is going to blow up. On my projects and next actions lists I will endeavor to only keep the very few items that have "consequences" if I don't do them. Those consequences can be personal, but will be felt.

                            I have one "someday soon", which I review weekly. Those are things that have consequences, but it's not time to start yet.

                            My someday/maybes are sorted into different lists to make them more accessible. For example, I have a hobby list, which I can look at for inspiration on a rainy Sunday, and a list for vacation ideas to look at when brainstorming ideas with my husband for what to do next summer.

                            By maintaining this clear distinction, I will know when action is imminently required and when I can abandon myself to playing with the dog.

                            All the best,
                            Christina

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